Steve Guerdat may leave Nino at home for World Cup final

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Steve Guerdat and Albfuehren's Paille won the final qualifying leg of the Longines World Cup series, at Gothenburg on Sunday.
Steve Guerdat and Albfuehren’s Paille won the final qualifying leg of the Longines World Cup series, at Gothenburg on Sunday. © FEI/Roland Thunholm

Olympic champion Steve Guerdat has recorded his second World Cup jumping victory, riding Albfuehren’s Paille to win the final qualifying round in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Sunday.

The final qualifier for the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Western European League was a desperate battle for those chasing the last remaining points that would earn them a place at the final in Las Vegas, USA in April. Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson lined up second with Casall Ask while Germany’s Marco Kutscher clinched third with Cornet’s Cristallo ahead of The Netherlands’ Jur Vrieling and Zirocco Blue NOP in fourth place over the Santiago Varela course.

Guerdat had no fears about qualification when earning his place in the 13-horse jump-off, as he was already lying third on the league leaderboard as the day began. But his result has boosted him to the top of the Western European League table, demoting young Irishman, Bertram Allen, to second place.

Guerdat’s 12-year-old mare Albfuehren’s Paille arrived at his stables only 10 months ago, having successfully campaigned with Alexandra Fricker. “It took a while to get to know her, but she jumped clear in her very first Grand Prix and this is her first very big win with me,” he said.

Looking ahead to Las Vegas, he said, “I’m not exactly sure which horse I will take, but Paille would be my first choice because she’s been very good during the entire indoor season and I’d like to save Nino for the Championships this year. Nino would be my second choice for Las Vegas, though”.

Second placegetters Casall Ask and Rolf-Goran Bengtsson.
Second placegetters Casall Ask and Rolf-Goran Bengtsson. © FEI/Roland Thunholm

His season has certainly been a spectacular one. From nine World Cup series starts he earned a massive 77 points, but it wasn’t all plain sailing as he collected points from only five events, beginning with third place in Oslo (NOR), victory in Helsinki (FIN), third again in Stuttgart (GER) – all with Nino – a 10th place with Paille in Verona (ITA) and then his win on Sunday with the same chestnut mare.

Marco Kutscher and Cornet's Cristallo were third.
Marco Kutscher and Cornet’s Cristallo were third. © FEI/Roland Thunholm

A total of 18 riders qualify for the final from the Western European League, and one to lose out was The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders, who collected 56 points on the US circuit but needed to add some Western European League points if he was to make the cut.

As defending champion, Germany’s Daniel Deusser is automatically qualified even though he finished in 10th place, while the results for the USA’s Lucy Davis and Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander, who finished fourth and sixth respectively in the WEL series, are transferred to their own regional leagues. Bengtsson confirmed that he will not travel, so that opens the door of opportunity for Belgium’s Jos Verlooy who lies in 24th position.

The final will take place in Las Vegas from  April 15 to 19.

Result: 1, Albfuehren’s Paille (Steve Guerdat) SUI 0/0 43.13; 2, Casall Ask (Rolf-Goran Bengtsson) SWE 0/0 43.49; 3, Cornet’s Cristallo (Marco Kutscher) GER 0/0 43.89; 4, VDL Zirocco Blue NOP (Jur Vrieling) NED 0/0 44.38; 5, As Cold as Ice Z (Judy-Ann Melchior) BEL 0/0 47.62; 6, Cantinero (Henrik von Eckermann) 0/0 49.74; 7, Silvana HDC (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/4 43.75; 8, Glock’s London NOP (Gerco Schroder) NED 0/4 44.93; 9, Casello (Douglas Lindelow) SWE 0/4 44.98; 10, Toulago (Pius Schwizer) SUI 0/4 45.98; 11, VDL Groep Arera C (Maikel van der Vleuten) NED 0/4 46.09; 12, Fair Light van’t Heike (Edwina Tops-Alexander) AUS 0/4 48.76; 13, Banca Popolare Bari Cassandra (Francesco Franco) ITA 0/4 52.65.

Full result here  

Longines FEI World Cup Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League Standings: 

Steve Guerdat with Casper Gebeke of Longines Sweden  after winning the Gothenburg World Cup round with Albfuehren's Paille. ©  FEI/Roland Thunholm
Steve Guerdat with Casper Gebeke of Longines Sweden after winning the Gothenburg World Cup round with Albfuehren’s Paille. © FEI/Roland Thunholm
  1.  Steve Guerdat SUI                –    77
  2.  Bertram Allen IRL                –    71
  3.  Kevin Staut FRA                –    65
  4.  Lucy Davis USA                –    62
  5.  Marco Kutscher GER            –    59
  6.  Edwina Tops-Alexander AUS –  57
  7.  Harrie Smolders NED            –    56
  8.  Marcus Ehning GER            –    53
  9.  Mikael van der Vleuten NED – 51
  10.  Daniel Deusser GER  –    50
  11.  Douglas Lindelow SWE   –   49
  12.  Jur Vrieling NED                –    46
  13.  Hans-Dieter Dreher GER  –  44
  14.  Rolf-Goran Bengtsson SWE –  42
  15.  Simon Delestre FRA            –    41
  16.  Martin Fuchs SUI                –    40
  17.  Geir Gulliksen NOR                –    38
  18.  Penelope Leprevost FRA  –  38
  19.  Sergio Alvarez Moya ESP –  37
  20.  Luca Maria Moneta ITA  – 36
  21.  Pius Schwizer SUI                –    34
  22.  Gerco Schroder NED            –    34
  23.  Reed Kessler USA                –    33
  24.  Jos Verlooy BEL                 –    33
  25.  Patrice Delaveau FRA            –    33
  26.  Judy-Ann Melchior BEL  –   32
  27.  Roger-Yves Bost FRA            –    30

Full standings here 

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This article has been written by a contributor to Horsetalk.co.nz.

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